Spotting drivers on their phone is just the tip of the iceberg for AI-enabled cameras - Automated surveillance starts simple, but who knows where it will end
It also demonstrates the slow creep of artificial intelligence into state and corporate surveillance — a trend that experts say could lead to some dark places: chilling civil rights, automating prejudices and biases, and pushing society slowly towards authoritarianism.
But as the roadside cameras of New South Wales show, identifying people is just the start of AI surveillance: the real power — and threat — is identifying actions. This means creating cameras that don’t just tell you who people are, but what they’re doing. Is that person moving things about? Could they be stealing something? Are they just loitering in a way you don’t like?
Governments are going to give all sorts of reasons why AI will be positive (make you as a citizen safer when crime is proactively identified and neutralised) but at what cost to freedoms? We could then just as well have a spy camera in every home with governments monitoring to ensure we are safe or are not tempted to commit any crime. It does reek rather of an Orwellian 1984... we have already lost many freedoms in the name of combating terrorism, child pornography, and human trafficking. The big question is where does the line get drawn? Neither of the two extremes is really practical today.
But I can see these AI type cameras becoming more pervasive in public areas probably whether we like it or not. It's the way the world has been moving the last decade. They are also a major business opportunity for companies to sell these solutions to police agencies (and they certainly don't all work very well as we've seen in the UK).
#AISpotting drivers on their phone is just the tip of the iceberg for AI-enabled cameras
AI cameras will put us all under surveillance